واقع الحياة: فلسفة رجل خبر الحياة : قصة قصيرة
Life Reality! Philosophy of an Old Man Short Story
Hasan Yahya, Michigan, USA
Have you ever imagine yourself 20 , 30, or more years older than you are in any point of your happy life? Like the majority of young people, I never did. But we, my wife and I, are already there, weak, pennyless, and carrying multi health factors slow down our lives, however, few friends (one or less) still surround us. (The writer)
-“It’s time for medicine, dear.” My wife reminds me every time. Time was evening and I was setting on my small home (wheelchair) on the balcony, 9 O ‘Clock P.M. looking at the street. Few people were passing. Some cars were still moving slowly. Lake Lansing shows itself at night, with little reflections of lights. You see no boats or swimmers.
– Thank you, dear!…. I raise my hand to take the seven pills, I usually have to take every night (7 of the 14 pills, to be exact) . The pills in my mouth, I raised my hand again, as if it is habitual action, I took the glass of water from my wife’s hand, usually handed seconds after the small cup with the pills to find their way to my stomach.
Selma in her love to me, she shows it through preparing food every day for the kids and me everyday in previous years . For her, life without cooking every day is nonsense. And for both of us, she still cook in later years. She never complained, I recall, except for the dirt on the floor or the carpet. Her eyes are accustomed to immediately see it as a hock eye. She most times did not notice, or describe how the the place was so beautiful , how clean. Whenever she sees a dirt spot, the words jump or may be dance angrily and show her dissatisfaction. Such mode can be shown in comments, saying: Look Here! Look there!
The house was in her eyes, never completely clean. I feel of her as a perfection of human being model. She used to sweep the floor twice every day, and sweep the carpet three times, especially when kids around and when she was strong. But the kids are no more around at home, but she still complain. Her daily cooking was the best method gathering the family every afternoon. Her food was the best. Salma was the best in too many things, managing the mail, answering the phone, calling her friends and relatives, she likes people to call otherwise she feels bored and annoyed saying, : no one calls, damn this Diaspora. Now, however, these calls are the only way to communicate other than calling or answering nurses or medical doctors for her spouse and herself. Other than this, no one listen now or care. The kids every now and then call, I think, to be sure that we, the parents still alive and well. Sometimes she wonder why they did not call-everyday. What makes them forget to call. May be they are busy, she talked sometimes to herself.
For the last seven years, Salma was taking care of me after mythe successful liver transplant. She played the role of nurse and medical technician to remind me of medicine time, especially when I forget time of pill(s). I do forget most times, even though I wrote a large sign and hanged it on the wall for pills duration and numbers. We are the only moving humans at home, beside our cat of course. In our empty nest, near Lansing Lake, we live alone, and the kids fly away finding jobs and managing their lives. In other words, we got old. The only thing we keep as a secret from others.
I married Salma, fifty years ago. We both were young at the High School, and expecting a long active life together. When I proposed to her after two years dating, I was graduating in the end of fall 1954, from Michigan State University. She was very much happier than me. We got married immediately after she graduated, six months later in the summer from the same university.
We both accepted offers at Michigan State University. Salma was a staff nurse, and I was assistant professor at the history Department, promoted to a tenure professor then head of the Department.
When our first baby arrived….. I remember I slept on the chair at Sparrow Hospital, Michigan Avenue. Our life became has meaning, Fifty years passed now….. we have another son, and daughter followed after five years.
When we bought our home, near the lake, as our dream home, our kids enrolled at Meridian District schools. At Okemos. My wife used to be the sucker Mom, taking care for the kids and two of their friends, she used to cook everyday, seven days a week, until they graduated from the same Michigan State.
Our children accepted offers, the eldest son moved to New York City, the other son also moved three years later, one to Los Angeles, California. And the daughter moved with her husband to Canada. They still call us and visit us often, according to occasions and time permission.
– Don’t stay long….. (my spouse said), Could I bring you a cover?
– Ok…. Dear….. I won’t stay long…… I am feeling to start a long trip……I responded quitely. My wife then said:
– Oh… don’t begin your philosophy of vanishing…. You look healthy to me. You will be fine …… She entered the house… I stayed in my chair saying:
– You look healthy too….Salma! Thank you dear!
Salma three years ago, visited her doctor at MSU clinic. After a recommendation from a doctor at the University who was specialist in heart disease. My wife that time, was in serious position at the emergency room at Sparrow Hospital. There was shortage of breath and trouble heart beating. They say, irregular heartbeat. In the two years, nothing changed. She had too many visits for ears, eyes, feet, and almost every part in her swallowing body. Nowadays, she is taking exercises at the Pulmonary rehab clinic. She lost seven pounds. She was happy, I guess! Me too. She also used to take a number of pills like me everyday. When we take the pills, we look at each other every time with a hidden smile. She measures her blood pressure twice a day. Sometimes up, other time down. She visits her doctor often. But feels daisy now and then….. But in general, she looks fine.
I looked at the lake….. two flying ducks landed not so far on the wooden dick. They look happy, or at least that what I imagine. I said to my self, “happy couple ducks….” I wished I was a duck…..to fly like a duck…… away….. to a place faraway, to a new world. But never happened. I sighed……and kept looking at the ducks for a while.
Salma-Bless her, brought a blanket, she puts it on my shoulder saying:
– “Honey….. we are happy couple…..I am lucky to have the smartest man on earth…..” I smiled…. and continued looking at the ducks delving into the lake water together.
Seeing myself setting alone, I remembered a nice spiritual poem I did not recall who made it. It reads:
Long ago, there lived an old man.
He had no money. He had no plan.
All that he had was a horse oh so grand
and he and his horse lived off the land.
I smiled, in my case, it was not a horse, but my lovely wife. Then suddenly came to me, my grandfather, I don’t know why. May be because he was always smiling. Even talking about the Turks who came to force the youth in his village to enroll in the army. But he escaped by chance playing the role of crazy young man as the actor in the Sunflower film. He was seventeen. The most and best I remember about him, his lovely stories. One particular story still hidden in the sky, whenever I like to see him, I remember that story. The title was: “The Fisherman and the Prince” . It was a kind of magic lamp and Aladdin, I may describe it here as far as waiting our destiny together.
There was an old fisherman who lived near the ocean, far from here. He had a wife and three children and a small home outside the gates of a great coastal city. It wan the custom of this fisherman to cast his net dust three times each day, and so it was that every day Allah provided enough fish to survive until the next day.
One day, the fisherman went to the shore as he did every day, and cast his net into the water. He pulled on the cords to remover it, but he found the net too heavy to pull it up. He dogged the net to the shore and found inside of it a large stone, but no fish. Upset with the yield, he plunged again into the water and caet the net, but again it fell heavy to the ocean floor and again he dragged it to store, hoping to find many fish. This time he found in it a large, worthless, earthen pitcher, which was filled with mud.
Troubled, he cast his net for the third time, it must be a third time to get right in stories, saying “Oh God! Surely you will provide for me, as you have always does!” But again he could not pull it from the water, even though he put forth all of his effort. He dragged the net to land again, and found inside of it a copped lamp, which was in good condition. Even though this was not a fish, the man was glad to have found it. “I could slll this at the market for a good price,” he thought, because the lamp appeared to have been made well. Examining the lamp, he found that it seemed to have something inside, and was sealed with a cap of lead, which was marked with a strange symbol.
Wondering what might be inside, he tried the lamp open, and in that instant smoke poured from the lamp, and rose in a great column. The smoke grew until finally it condensed and became a tremendous Jinni. The fisherman was afraid but also greatly excited, because he had never seen anything so wondrous. The Jinni said, “Lou have released me! For too long have I been held captive in that lamp. When I was first sealed inside I decided that if I were released, I would grant my rescuer very great wealth. But for one hundred years I was not saved, and I grew depressed.”
The spirit continued, “Then I decided that I would grant to my rescuer all of the riches of the world. But for two hundred more years I was still not saved from my prison. It was a very long time to be sealed inside a lamp.”
“Then I said that I would grant my rescuer any three wishes of his choosing. This I committed to for three hundred years. And yet I still was not released. My anger grew great, and finally I decided that whoever released me I would kill. And now you have resolved the seal, and so you shall die. In what manner would you like to be killed?”
I like this part, any way, a choice how to die left in hand. What a democratic Jinni, act like politicians of these days. I sighed and continue my listening to my grandfather, he said:
The fisherman cried out, “Oh I wish I had found you sooner!” But the Jinni had given up on the granting of wishes, and did not seem likely to change his mind. The spirit said, “You are wasting my time, for an hour human. I ask again, what means would you like to die?”
The fisherman, fearing for his family, devised a cunning plan, after all, he used his brain, which God gives him certain powers, especially planning to save self by the magic word, brainstorming, thinking, so he asked the Jinni, “How could you fit into this lamp which would not even hold your five finger?” The Jinni replied, “What! Do you not believe that I had been imprisoned there?” “No!” said the fisherman in determined voice, “I will not believe it until I’ve seen it myself.” We learned from our fathers to see, in order to believe.
Baffled, the evil spirit instantly became a vapor, and within moments had curved himself inside the lamp completely. The fisherman quickly sealed the lamp and proclaimed “Now you just do as I say, or else I will return you to the ocean floor.” The Jinni was very angry, but realized his blunder. He begged of the man to release him, claiming that he would not kill him after all. But the fisherman had resolved to profit from the situation. And he said: I learned another lesson from my father, the good believer, does not be bitten from the same hall twice. I don’t trust you, I trust only my mind. Besides, nothing certain in human life. What lessons we got, if we dream of glory, without determination to continue searching for the truth. In the meanwhile, he have to be sure not to fail. If we did, we have to learn from failure to reach the certain destination. I sighed, again.
God bless my parents and grandparents, they were great, illiterate people. I looked at my watch, I spent almost all night at the porch, imagining. I laughed loudly in that moment, like crazy people do. It was 4 O’Clock a.m, I rolled my wheelchair inside the house…… I tried to be quite, so Salma will not wake up. We usually sleep in the living room, since we cannot climb the stairs. Manage to hardly put myself on my bed, covered myself with blanket, and tried to go every night trip.
Next morning, I remembered last night at the porch, going back to some of the kind and happiest moments of life together. It looks like a movies with fast motions. I was waiting for her every day after school, while she pretend to ignore me. It took three months watching her back from school, the courage failed me every time I wanted to convey to her my passion and love. We engaged, married, rear our kids together, we laughed together, celebrated our great moments together, love, happiness and respect are freely expressed from all. Oh. Dear…. we have a great time. In my mind, I was determined to begin to write my life today. It might take years or may be moments, but the dream will be true, by my solid determination. I will defeat weakness, and illness, and reform it to success.
Sleeping is the best thing we both do, my wife and I, used to snore, but never tell each other. One day my wife has difficulty to breath, I thought her heart is getting angry another time, and stop its ordinary job. But the doctor came to our house at 9.00 am. And told the emergency to send an ambulance immediately. Later in the day the doctor told me that she needed sleeping test, because she snores at night which she deny strongly, and that could be the case, even though he was not sure, but recommendation from him for possible influence on heart beat. His justification was that her heart join her lungs of losing track of their ordinary jobs.
Two weeks later, I woke up at seven a.m, looked at at Salma, she used to bring me the six pills at morning time. But Salma was still sleeping. I tried not to wake her up, so I managed to get to my wheelchair, looked at Salma again, I don’t want to disturb her. With a low voice I called her:
– Salma! …. (there was no answer, no move, I called her again), Salma!! my medicine …. Dear!
But Salma did not move….. I called her again….. and again…. Oh my God….. Salma took the long trip before me….. I never thought to die after her. What … a world, ends with something we all hate…. The final destiny through an ugly word called ………… Death. (1072 words)
@Hasan Yahya, Michigan, April 2012
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